Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Genre: Adult Fiction

Publication Date: Feb 2009

One Word Review: Enlightening

GoodReads Synopsis
: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Jess's Review: The book that stands out most in my mind as the first book that I realized that books have something to say and not just a story to tell was To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it for the first time in the 9th grade and it has never been dethroned as one of my all time favorite books. As a result of reading that book I have since become fascinated with The South. All aspects of The South interest me; the Civil War, Civil Rights, and some of my heroes are Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. For these reasons it isn't shocking that I adored reading The Help. This book will be with me for a very long time. From the beginning the book drew me in. At first I had reservations about a modern white woman writing a first person narrative of a black maid. However, I found that Stockett was up to the task. The book trades off from 3 different voices; Aibileen, (black maid) Skeeter, (White) and Minny. (black maid) Stockett was able to create 3 distinct voices that I fell in love with. Aibileen was my favorite and it must have been very difficult to write the way a Aibileen spoke . The story had so many layers that it can hardly be categorized as a straightforward story of white on black prejudice. I found that prejudice is maybe the only thing that is color-blind. As people we find all sorts of reasons to hate another person and I feel like she explored this aspect of prejudice. Stockett created touching friendships that looked at the heart and made me appreciate my own girlfriends. It truly was a touching story and by the end I felt like I was friends with Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Two things prevented me from giving this book 5 stars. First, there is a part where a naked man threatens one of the characters and it felt superfluous. Although neither was used in excess, my own personal taste prevents me from enjoying course language and taking the Lord's name in vain.

p.s. I just realized my one word review was enlightening. I felt that way because I didn't realize how whites viewed the black maids that served them. I believe there was a very small portion who loved their maids like human beings. I came to realize that some viewed them almost like beloved pets, some simply viewed them necessary, while a few, simply saw them as dirty. In the book it says the line was drawn and people stayed inside the line. Man I hope that has changed!

Bookworm Rating: 4.8


  1. Welcome back! Loved the post & review, you really are great at writing reviews! I'm really tempted to give this one a shot...

  2. This one is definitely on my list I just have to decide when the right time is to read it.


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